Human Health Risk Assessment of Nitrate and Trace Metals Via Groundwater in Central Bangladesh

Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Department of Environmental Sciences, Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka-1342, Bangladesh

2 Climate Change Programme, BRAC, Dhaka 1212, Bangladesh

3 Department of Textile Engineering, City University, Bangladesh

4 Graduate School of Environmental Science, Hokkaido University, Japan

5 Department of Public Health and Informatics, Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka, Bangladesh


Groundwater plays a pivotal role as the largest potable water sources in Bangladesh. As agriculture is widely practiced in Bangladesh, potential nitrate (NO3¯) pollution may occur. Besides, excess amount of arsenic (As) has already been found in groundwater in many parts of Bangladesh including the present study area. Thus, this study was conducted to assess the NO3¯ status along with some trace metals and associated human health risk in the Central Bangladesh. A total of 99 groundwater samples were analyzed to assess human health risk due to high level of NO3¯ and other trace elements i.e. arsenic (As), iron (Fe), and manganese (Mn). Concentration of NO3¯ was determined using column chromatography and inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometer (ICP-OES) was used to measure As, Fe and Mn concentrations. It was found that the mean concentration of NO3¯ 253.17 (mg/L) in the groundwater samples exceeds the recommended guideline value by the WHO (50 mg/L). Moreover, this study area also characterized with elevated concentration of As (19.44 μg/L), Fe (811.35 μg/L), and Mn (455.18 μg/L) in the groundwater. Non-carcinogenic human health risk was calculated by justifying HQ (Hazard Quotient) and HI (Hazard Index) and attributed potential conjunctive human health risks due to NO3¯, As, Fe and Mn in the study area. Child (9.941) is more vulnerable than adult (7.810) considering non-carcinogenic human health risk. Moreover, high carcinogenic risk was found due to As contamination in the groundwater samples and children (1.94×10-3) are more susceptible to carcinogenic risk compared to adults (9.2×10-4).


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